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“Tell the truth but tell it slant” is code. For “poetry.” April 24, 2011: In the New York Times Book Review this week, there is a letter taking issue with anti-intellectualism in a review about poetry. The review was by David Kirby, the book was David Orr's Beautiful and Pointless, and the letter-writer, Allan Benn (his signature included his credentials: professor of English at East Stroudsburg University) chided, [...] by

Libryrinths April 20, 2011: The library I frequented when I was a little girl still looks much like it did in the 1970s and 80s. I'd like to revisit it someday, browsing the children's stacks where I found and lost so many stories. I say lost because, though no one ever speaks of it (would it be unjust or disloyal to my favorite institution?), the books one borrows and [...] by

Obit/Didactic April 6, 2011: It was about a year ago that I read with Paul Violi at Pace University. Today—shocked—I see his black-framed photo on Silliman's blog. A blogging category I neglected to put on my list: Obituary. There's something about breaking bread with a person, especially a person whose poems you've read with pleasure, that gives you a feeling of [...] by

Did Coetzee Know “Briggflatts”? April 1, 2011: At this late date, the blogger reviews her options. She knows a little too much about blogging at this point; she knows, for instance, that the point is to maximize hits, even though the longevity of content on the internet (ye gods...) suggests there is some motivation to be thoughtful. A rundown of various tactics looks like this: 1. [...] by

Shortcut for Daisy April 27, 2010: Every day, whether it is to ferry my son to his crèche, or to go buy fresh greens for the night's dinner, I must mount one of the several sets of steep stairs that are cut into the rocky hill dividing the campus. The closest set of stairs to the faculty residence actually combines two sets that meet at the head and the foot of the slope. One is a [...] by

Aside on Expat Life (after Martin Earl) April 23, 2010: I might not be the best person to comment on Martin Earl's account of expatriatism and poetry (A.E. Stallings probably has a deeper perspective, after a decade in Athens). Spending a year abroad here and there can't compare to spending a decade, or two or three. I have met people who did indeed bear signs of a kind of social deformity after a [...] by

Gated Community IV April 19, 2010: I remember once crossing a lawn at night that was outfitted with an automated sprinkler system; in the available light I could see colorless rainbows. At least that's what I thought they were. But the lack was in me, not the rainbows: I didn't know that, at night, humans are technically colorblind. So when I read Anne Finch's scientifically [...] by

Gated Community III April 16, 2010: An apology and a confession: I'm sorry for being absent on Harriet—I thought I would sneak back to the U.S. from Beirut and do two readings and slip home without fanfare, to take up my blogging duties again from the comfort of my own desk, close by the books I'd wanted to cite in my meditations on lyrical "gated communities" ... but it was not [...] by

Gated Community II April 8, 2010: Partly, I've taken a fancy to Upon Appleton House and other country-house poems because the freedom of being a guest (as opposed to the responsibility of being the homeowner) is akin to becoming a child again. Innocence: a state propitious to the lyric. (Also: free time.) Marvell lived through one of the most turbulent eras in British history. [...] by

The Gated Community April 3, 2010: Since Daisy has already identified me as a nerdy poet, I shan't flinch from admitting right off the bat that I have Andrew Marvell and Anne Finch on my mind these days. I'm thinking of their poems about the country estates where they found protection and patronage for brief intervals during turbulent historic times: Upon Appleton House, for [...] by